James Newton Howard; GENRE: Drama, Action-Adventure- Fantasy; CINEMATOGRAPHY: Greig Fraser; DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Pictures; LOCATION: UK; RUNNING TIME: 127 minutes
Technical Assessment: 4
Moral Assessment: 3
Cinema rating: For viewers 14 years old and above
SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN / TRT / june 12
The diabolical Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) becomes the second wife of the King and father of Snow White (Kristen Stewart). On their wedding night, the Queen kills the King and locks the child Snow White in a room in the castle. Living in terror of losing her beauty, the Queen in time is told by her magic mirror that Snow White has grown up and will soon outshine her in beauty; meanwhile Snow White escapes to the Dark Forest. The Queen recruits Eric the Huntsman (Chris Helmsworth), the only one known to have survived the Dark Forest, to capture Snow White. Threatened with death should he refuse to follow his order, the Huntsman finds Snow White, and upon learning that the Queen has tricked him, begins training Snow White for the arduous battle ahead. Later on they are joined by the dwarfs (Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, Eddie Izzard, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, and Stephen Graham) to restore the land taken over by the dark-hearted queen.
It’s an enchanted realm that Snow White and the Huntsman ushers us to, thanks to the magic of CGI. Rupert Sanders, its director, has a knack for establishing memorable places, perhaps owing to his background in TV commercials. Here, two places stand out in contrast to each other: the Dark Forest where Snow White seeks refuge is creepy and menacing, a place where apparently nothing lives but where tree branches morph into serpents and a monstrous troll seems to materialize from the bones of dead trees. The Fairyland where the dwarfs hide Snow White and the Huntsman is an awesome wonderland where hundreds of one-eyed mushrooms regard the human visitors while pale-skinned naked sprites pop up here and there to guide them. Whether it’s black magic or white, every scene calling for the supernatural is a triumph of art direction. And there’s acting to match. Theron is especially effective as a wicked witch-queen, flawless and radiant—even when 90 percent of her part is screaming and glaring. Stewart is plucky enough for the part, and her most shining moment is her stare-down with the giant troll which she faces unarmed in order to save a fallen companion.
In Snow White and the Huntsman, there is betrayal, wickedness, deception, vanity and greed in the movie (not to mention implied incest) but there is also nobility of spirit, bravery, trust, innocence, and self-sacrificing love of others. Outstanding is the mention of innocence and purity of heart as the only thing that can vanquish evil: here it means recapturing the glory of the dying kingdom; taken to the personal level it could mean turning away from error in order to enter a paradise on earth. Adults will have no problem with the movie’s dark side, but children might have nightmares from the violence, and young teens might be misled by all that chicanery and spell-casting lurking beneath veneered exteriors.